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Old February 14th, 2017 #1
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Post UK University student under investigation for "Rights for Whites" sign on his dorm room door

A leading Russell Group university is conducting an investigation after a swastika and a “Rights for Whites” sign were found in halls of residence, raising concern about antisemitism and racism on campuses.

The incidents at the University of Exeter follow reports last term that students were pictured wearing T-shirts with handwritten antisemitic and racist slogans at a sports club social event. One T-shirt had the words “the Holocaust was a good time” scrawled across it, while another said: “Don’t talk to me if you’re not white.”

According to the university’s student news website Exeposé, the swastika had been carved into a door in on-campus halls Birks Grange, while the “Rights for Whites” sign decorated with a union flag was spotted on the door of a student room in Llewellyn Mews.

A university spokesperson said the director of campus services had launched an urgent investigation and the graffiti and offensive slogan had been removed. “The investigation into the students’ actions is being carried out under the university’s disciplinary procedures.

“The investigation is ongoing and no conclusions have yet been drawn, but it appears, from initial inquiries, that this may have been an ill-judged, deeply offensive joke on the students’ part, parodying a sketch in a TV comedy show.

“The university believes any form of racist or discriminatory behaviour is unacceptable and the actions of those involved are in contrast to the vast majority of students, who help to build our tolerant and inclusive university community.”

The incident follows a claim by Britain’s first higher education adjudicator, Ruth Deech, that some Jewish students are avoiding certain universities because of concerns about antisemitism. Deech, who is now a crossbench peer, told the Daily Telegraph that hostility towards Israeli government policies went so far in some instances as to constitute antisemitism.

“Among Jewish students, there is gradually a feeling that there are certain universities that you should avoid. Definitely Soas University of London; Manchester, I think, is now not so popular because of things that have happened there; Southampton; Exeter and so on,” she told the newspaper.

The Union of Jewish Students (UJS) said the discovery of a swastika at the University of Exeter was concerning. “Universities ought to be safe and welcoming for all students, but this vandalism undermines that principle and indicates instead that some students do not welcome their minority peers.”

According to recent figures from the Community Security Trust, a Jewish security charity that monitors antisemitism, antisemitic incidents where the victims were Jewish students or academics have doubled, with 41 incidents in 2016 compared with 21 campus-related incidents in 2015.

But the UJS said it would be premature to suggest that any university might be developing a reputation for antisemitism. “Incidents like the one in Exeter undoubtedly make Jewish students uncomfortable and some ma

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